Eagles’ Defense Tames the Broncos

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Ethan Flynn

The Eagles season opener was a 44-0 loss to West Virginia which made it their first shutout since 1995. Looming overhead, the Eagles’ defensive breakdowns quickly turned into determination to improve. Bringing the Broncos of Western Michigan to Paulson Stadium was exactly what the Eagles needed to bounce back. 23,520 fans made it the fourth largest crowd in Paulson Stadium’s history. Representing the defense at the coin toss, Matt Dobson and Antwione Williams, chose to defer the ball to the Broncos. 

The Broncos would start the first series of the first quarter on their own 9-yard line. They drove the ball down the field with a steady run game. Broncos’ running backs, Jarvion Franklin and Jamauri Bogan, drove the majority of the field. Handling most of the carries was Jarvion Franklin. However, the defense held strong limiting the Broncos to a 34-yard field goal. The Broncos utilized the passing game in the second series but were held to a three-and-out. Caleb Williams deflected the third down pass which forced the Broncos to punt afterwards. 

The Broncos were under pressure their first series of the second quarter. The Eagles held the Broncos to a three-and-out and on third down Tay Hicklin deflected the pass. “We knew they were going to pass. We knew we needed to apply pressure to the quarterback,”Jamal Johnson said. The Broncos attempted to punt the ball but due to a bad snap that rolled 35 yards into their end zone, giving the Eagles their first safety of the season. It was the first safety since playing Savannah State in 2011. 

Taking the field for the third quarter, the Broncos ran the ball once before quarterback Zach Terrell opened up the passing game again. In doing so, Antonio Glover was able to record his second interception of the game. Oddly enough, the pass bounced off the referee’s shoulder and into the hands of Glover. The second series consisted mainly of the passing and Terrell seemed to be finding his targets. His main target was Daniel Braverman. The Broncos later tried to convert a fourth down, but Glover intercepted it, his thrid of the game. “It feels amazing to redeem myself from last week. As a defense, we’re always happy to have turnovers. It wasn’t the three interceptions that turned the game around; it was the offense, defense and specialty teams,” Glover said about his performance.

At the start of the fourth quarter, the Broncos drove the ball 55 yards utilizing both the passing and running game their first series. The Eagles held the Broncos until third down when Terrell would pass to Carrington Thompson for a 13-yard touchdown. Terrell would also pass for a two-point conversion to Jeremiah Mullinax. Alex Hanks would kickoff for the Eagles and a fumble was forced by Chris DeLaRosa. James Dean would recover the ball giving the Eagles offense another opportunity to score.

“This might be the best team that’s ever come into Paulson Stadium,” Coach Fritz said. Prior to playing the Eagles, the Broncos narrowly lost to Michigan State who was the fifth ranked team in the country to begin the season. With that being said, the Eagles’ defense played lights out proving their capabilities. The Broncos were limited to 252 total yards on offense and the Eagles capitalized on one forced fumble and three interceptions. There was sound execution at every defensive position eliminating what was the Broncos’ potential lethal offense. The Eagles’ defense will look to shut down their next opponent this Saturday when the Citadel comes to Paulson Stadium.